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Sports October 24, 2017  RSS feed

Former Belle of the Week

Submitted by Amanda Harter and edited by Sherry Matney

Tee Rhyne Tee Rhyne Each week, since the beginning of this school year, Bison Belle director Amanda Henson Harter has featured a Former Belle leading up to this week’s 60th Reunion for the Belles. It is fitting that the featured Belle this week is Betty Henson Reeder, who was the Charter Drum Major elected in 1958. Reeder, along with other Belles, has been instrumental in founding the Tee Martin Rhyne Memorial Scholarship as a memorial of the Belle founder. The scholarship is given to senior Belle graduates each year who meet the qualifications set forth in the application.

Reeder was also a major part of the committee that planned the exquisite celebration on Saturday, October 21, for all Former Belles. Starting with Former Belles meeting at the football field, before Friday night’s game and ending with a get together that included a tiered cake topped with a Belle’s hat, the reunion was praised by every former high-kicker and twirler who attended.

Betty Henson Reeder Betty Henson Reeder Betty is the daughter of the late Louie and Dannie Henson, lifelong residents of Buffalo. Tee Rhyne, already mentioned as the founder of the Bison Belles Drill Team, was also Betty’s 5th grade teacher. Betty recalls Rhyne tap dancing across the front of the classroom one day on the elementary classroom hardwood floors. She admired Mrs. Rhyne from a very early age.

Tee Rhyne had a dream of beginning a drill team at Buffalo High School and, with the support of school administration, a Drum Mother’s Club and the community, the dream came true.

Betty was selected as Drum Major for the very first drill team, her sophomore year, as a 15 year old. The candidates honed their skills of twirling, strutting, drum cadence and military march commands all summer before tryouts. Rhnea Schaffer, head twirler from Madisonville taught twirling lessons, and the band director from Centerville taught drum cadences. Betty remained Drum Major, after competing each year, throughout her junior and senior years for a total of three years at the prestigious position.

Kay Reeder Young Kay Reeder Young Reeder says she had no one in particular to admire during elementary school but she loved to watch the twirlers at college halftime performances on black and white TV in the 1950’s. She received her first baton at age 6 and still has it today with more than a few dents.

Betty’s favorite memory was the 1960- 61- homecoming performance. Tee Rhyne had contacted the Boy Scout leader in Mexia, Texas and borrowed all of their Indian headdresses for the homecoming routine featuring Indians. During half time, the officers twirled fire batons with the stadium lights out. The headdresses were removed and the girls twirled in shorts instead of skirts. The principal made sure the batons were pre-soaked in kerosene and ready to go when the lights went out. The drummers were featured with an Indian cadence routine. The Belles loved to perform in the homecoming parades and Buffalo’s Christmas parade.

Homecoming routine: Becky Hardy, Mary Nell Ingram, Glenda Long, Lanna Best, Betty Henson. Homecoming routine: Becky Hardy, Mary Nell Ingram, Glenda Long, Lanna Best, Betty Henson. Betty’s daughter, Katherine (Kay) Reeder Young performed as a Belle her freshman year in 1984 under director Reda Barnett Robinson. She continued her high school years as a varsity cheerleader.

Today, after many of the former belles have participated on the scholarship committee, Betty still serves as historian and each Belle who receives the scholarship can tell anyone the founder’s name and history. It is a sisterhood that is treasured. Betty says, “My feet will always march to the beat of a drum.”

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